Russian forces have taken over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Enerhodar after a night of attacks that sparked concerns about a possible nuclear disaster.
Russian troops shelled the power plant, causing a fire in a training building near one of the plant’s six reactors. Petro Kotin, the head of the state-owned nuclear power generator Energoatom confirmed that Russian soldiers “entered the territory of the nuclear power plant, took control of the personnel and management of the nuclear power plant.”
“ZNPP power units remain intact, unit 1 reactor compartment auxiliary buildings have been damaged, which does not affect the safety of the unit,” Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate said. “The systems and components important to the safety of the NPP are operational.”
“At present, no changes in the radiation situation have been registered,” the agency added.
Kotin said that the plant remains operational and that the employees were being forced to work at “gunpoint.” He noted that the six reactors at the plant, which is the largest in Europe, have nuclear fuel in them and warned that any attack that damages them “will lead to nuclear disaster.”
The workers inside the plant have claimed that Russian troops are planting explosives to “blackmail the whole of Europe.”
Misha Gannytskyi, director-general of the Ukrainian Independent Information Agency of News told Fox News that Ukrainian officials are concerned Russia will “use this fact that they control the nuclear power plant to organize pressure on Ukraine, they can use that station like a big hostage.”
“We can say that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin already launched the nuclear war,” Gannytskyi added. “We here in Ukraine are curious: what else Putin need to do before Western countries will be ready to protect our sky?”